Theme: The Damned Human Race

(47 entries)

September 16, 2009

Wouldn't a title just make it worse?

Yesterday on the New York Times web site:

Ugo Eze, 23, a student at Queens College, was headed to Manhattan and was about to walk right past the candidate until Mr. Liu pulled him aside to shake his hand.

"You know the handshake!" Mr. Eze exclaimed, surprised that Mr. Liu, a "man in a suit," knew the shake used by those in the "inner-city streets." Mr. Eze added: "John Liu knows the handshake that the people around my way know. That gives him some credibility."

Does this make John Liu the first openly-crip legislator?


by Jack, Wednesday, September 16, 2009 | Link | Comments (0)

March 11, 2008

Eliot Spitzer is an idiot

He came in with a giant landslide, and a population eager for change, and he turned it into a year of failure. This failure came because he tried to steamroller the state legislature the way he might a defendant in one of his A.G. cases, but that isn’t something the legislature is excited about.

He squandered his first year. And now he has capped it by being discovered to use hookers.

Continue reading "Eliot Spitzer is an idiot"
by Jack, Tuesday, March 11, 2008 | Link | Comments (0)

February 20, 2008

Overheard in Chicago, 1968

— Mayor Daley supports Humphrey.

— He has a funny way of showing it.

by Jack, Wednesday, February 20, 2008 | Link | Comments (0)

February 6, 2008

The Missouri Compromise of 2008

Now, I know Trouble Sells readers are not necessarily consumers of political narrative, but I feel that my blog should follow national trends and take a wide stance. If you are in love with humanity (but not people, as Edna Millay noted), then you surely can be lovers of political theater. And there’s plenty going on in that area with the 2008 Democratic presidential primaries.

Super Tuesday does not contain many real swing states in it, so it’s hard to extrapolate to the general election. Time and again, it also fails to achieve its purpose: anointing a frontrunner. The first Super Tuesday, in 1988, consisted of a bloc of Southern states that Al Gore (the old, centrist Al) was to sweep. Except Jesse Jackson won just as many, and neither was the nominee in the end. Although Jesse could then say, “I AM Somebody…who kicked Gore’s ass in Georgia.”

But let’s look at 2008, and check out last night’s map. (Yes, I drew a map in here!)

Continue reading "The Missouri Compromise of 2008"
by Jack, Wednesday, February 6, 2008 | Link | Comments (0)

January 24, 2008

Half past Giuliani time

One unexplained omission from this presidential election cycle has been a New York Magazine cover story written by Rudy Giuliani, entitled “I was such a great mayor”.

Continue reading "Half past Giuliani time"
by Jack, Thursday, January 24, 2008 | Link | Comments (2)

December 18, 2007

Absinthe and Motherfuckerless Brooklyn

Due to the time-dilation effects of continuously crossing south on Houston and north on Fourteenth in the same day, I have only aged four years since beginning this blog in September 2003, but New York City itself has aged an entire generation.

New York is a city of constant change, and inevitably some change is for the worse. If you take a values-neutral stance, that is. If you are somehow biased against middle-class suburbanites who believe they’re pretty cool, then you will find more of the change to be negative.

One thing I’d like to make clear: if you have moved to Brooklyn, that’s fine. But it is not a heroic achievement.

Continue reading "Absinthe and Motherfuckerless Brooklyn"
by Jack, Tuesday, December 18, 2007 | Link | Comments (3)

December 18, 2006

Season's greetings

Not content just to fester within my blog, I’ve been out in the world, fighting to make it more like Trouble Sells. A lot has happened in the intervening time; to me, and to the world. Some things I had nothing to do with: O.J. Simpson’s book, the first hypothetical tell-all, a fascinating premise, which itself became hypothetical. This is an important lesson for somebody. Things I had more to do with: the upcoming feature film about the life of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, starring Gael García Bernal.

Mostly, I have sat amongst my generation as they drank coffee and read Recognizable Tropes Magazine; a generation which asserts, quite obviously, that “fur is dead” when a more mysterious generation once considered that “Paul is dead”. Have we lost something?

Continue reading "Season's greetings"
by Jack, Monday, December 18, 2006 | Link | Comments (0)

October 14, 2006

London, actually

Jack is on vacation. In his absence, we present posts from Jane, who is also on vacation — from reality.

So I had rented this house on Fire Island with my buddies anticipating the demise of my New York City self in advance of moving to London for sabbatical. Away from Jack, away from the lesbians, away from the shitty indifference that’s so typical of my adopted home. So.

Now I’m in London (an instantaneous switching of the scene due to poor blogging skills). I moved here to get away from all of the bullshit. Here there’s loads of bullshit. It just has very little to do with my world so I don’t pay much attention to it. (Comparative analysis can come later.)

Continue reading "London, actually"
by Jane, Saturday, October 14, 2006 | Link | Comments (0)

August 25, 2006

Music for chameleons

Jack is on vacation. In his absence, we present posts from Jane, who is also on vacation.

Another day in the luscious and infernal Cherry Grove. It just keeps going. I suppose I should tell more anecdotes in order to make my hijack worthwhile. Something worth reading. (Apologies for not performing better under pressure!)

The only thing exciting that’s happened recently is that I got stung, bit, irritated by something. Swimming in the sea, kicking my girlhood siren fantasy — or desperately scrapping for a lobster-boy pass, as Rob calls her funny orange turbo-tailed nerfball that we pat about in the surf — it’s impossible to isolate the incident. Somehow I wound up with a Farrah-Fawcett-Burning-Bed-style bruise/laceration on my trunk. At first I thought it was just the result of a mid-afternoon wrestling match between me, Rob, and Cassandra (the fabulous one of the bunch) that shook the rafters of Tee-Pee House. A match that resulted in bruises upon all and the death of my sunglasses for which I performed an instant Irish wake that garnered the applause of all.

Continue reading "Music for chameleons"
by Jane, Friday, August 25, 2006 | Link | Comments (0)

August 23, 2006

Sea, sex, and sun: Pick two

Jack is on vacation. In his absence, we present posts from Jane, who is also on vacation.

Dear Jack,

Greetings from Fire Island. I wish you were here. I realized that I’m gay and I want you to tell the world that I’m not coming back.

Ever yours,

Just kidding! Sort of. I’m on Fire Island. Cherry Grove to be specific. Having a gay old sopping-drunk blast with my dyke friends. And, no, I’m not sure that I want to come back. What a strange and wonderful place this is! It reminds me a lot of when I lost my mind back in Nice a few years ago.

I’m just now truly settling in after ten days or so of “vacation.” It has to better here than wherever you are, for sure. As Serge Gainesbourg said, “Sea, sex, and sun.” And even if I’m not the one having sex, it’s still fun. I’ve seen more live action male frontal nudity in these ten or so days than ever before in my 26 years. My friends dismissively say this is the trashy part of queer Fire Island, not surprising given the condition of our rickety matchstick rented abode known as Tee-Pee House. But I think it’s great the house wobbles every time I heave out an asthmatic cough, though fortunately everyone is too drunk to notice.

Continue reading "Sea, sex, and sun: Pick two"
by Jane, Wednesday, August 23, 2006 | Link | Comments (0)

July 24, 2006

A View from the Bitch

Jack is on vacation. In his absence, we present posts from Jane, who is also on vacation.

Yeah, America is ugly, grey and concrete. Americans are fat, lazy and lonely. Big raging fucking whoop. Boo-hoo, I’m rich, over-qualified and unmotivated. Quel dommage! I think it’s about time we caught up with the rest of the world’s despair.

To qualify, the rest of the post-colonial-Western-European-world-except-a-shadow-of-it-since-we-haven’t-had-to-deal-with-any-REAL-economic-crisis-or-uprising-apart-from-the-Great-Depression-when-the labor-movement-had-legs-to-stand-on-that-were-soon-clipped-etc. I’m sick of this substance-less pseudo-existentialist dilemma that my criminally-bored generation (myself included) suffers from. And I’m FUCKING sick of hyphenating!

Yes, you’re right. This isn’t Jack. I’ve hijacked his blog. And in the interest of making good with my opportunity to humiliate him, I will begin with alliteration. Who hijacks the blog of a hapless hack? The homely hunfortunate victim of his h-musings. How fair is it to be written? To have your heart distilled into a couple of clever (or not so) lines? I’m a complex woman. I love people. I’m not all dreams and booze and maudlin nonsense! But now I’ll never convince you. I’m just a chimerical series of typed characters. In fact, you fans of Trouble Sells may not even remember me. I briefly appeared in this blog a couple of years ago. Though I breathe still. And also SEE our Protagonist Jack somewhat regularly. He’s right. Things indeed have been strange since OUR bar closed one year, seven months, and eleven days ago. That bar was a grounding device. In spite of whatever adversity I faced, I could always count on getting drunk among those familiar souls who were drunker than me (which says a lot, as you would know if you’re familiar with this blog). Can we tell Jack to shut up for once? Can we tell him to shut up about his stupid alienation and juvenile fantasies? Can we tell him to buy me drink so that I don’t stop typing?

by Jane, Monday, July 24, 2006 | Link | Comments (1)

May 21, 2006

Rampaging around my room, and finding the solution to all of the world's problems,
in the form of a new T-shirt and band that will play at Williamsburg open mics

For much of this year, I have been traveling for business. There has been little to keep me at home. My favorite bar — nay, the only bar I ever loved — is no more. And grinding out depressing product photography is a constant, regardless of your location, so your location need only be determined by where they want to pay you to be. So, I went to those places. I saw America, again. It is a big, bright, beige place, with lots of concrete, accented with glass bricks when they need some class. It seemed bigger than when I had seen it last.

Leaving New York is not something I normally want to do. But they’ve been changing New York into something I didn’t sign up for. I need to keep my options open.

New York’s transformation into a walled city began around the time that Berlin gave it up. Manhattan is the dirtiest beachless resort town in the world, as more and more millionaire’s aeries are built on the graveyards of egalitarianism. Historically progressive voters who once wanted to improve the city for their fellows now emphasize the more-management-solves-problems approach epitomized by “I-Deserve-This” technocrats like the poorly-prepared mayor, who wants to let the market decide.

As a long-time stalwart of Downtown, I’ve watched as the ultimate indicator of disaster — the canary to our air supply — the price of a Stoli and soda, inflated to approximately double its 1999 index, both because its price increased in the bars that survived and because many bars in which its price did not increase did not survive. (In short, the market decided we wanted to spend a lot more money in bars.)

So I decided to look around, to see what the trends were in our nation as a whole, not just to educate myself and my loyal readership, but with an eye to a possible escape, if it came to that. I was not prepared to give up right away, but did not want to be unready if there was to be a further shift in my city toward unsustainable shittiness.

But, as you may already know, things are not better in the national context. The difference between New York and Tampa is not that people have different ideas, but that they are having their bad ideas proximate to treasures of Art Deco architecture (which they do not appreciate) in one place, and surrounded by swampy, ramshackle stucco boxes (which they incorrectly appreciate) in the other.

I submitted my findings to the Trouble Sells Institute, which has magnanimously promised to study this problem in great depth. After twenty minutes and a few Stoli and sodas mixed at home, we isolated two main trends with wide-ranging ramifications in America. Going the extra mile, TSI developed a response to these problems, explained below.

Continue reading "Rampaging around my room, and finding the solution to all of the world's problems,
in the form of a new T-shirt and band that will play at Williamsburg open mics"

by Jack, Sunday, May 21, 2006 | Link | Comments (3)

January 28, 2006

Left out of the New York Guide

It’s hard to know what is a Trouble Sells sort of idea any more. I think this one passes, although you may find it a bit twee. I think I’ve always balanced that line between hokum and dysphemism, but I’m also getting older, so you tell me.

A few months back there was a movie that you haven’t heard of, but trust me, it’s a real movie, called Brooklyn Lobster. As a fringe member of the downtown opinion-makers, I was invited by its publicist to the prerelease screening. It was a heart-warming working-class drama starring — for the first time together — the twin powerhouses of Danny Aiello and Jane Curtin. America, or at least I, was not ready. I turned down the invitation and forgot about it.

A couple weeks later I walked by the theater on Second Avenue where it was going to be premiered, on precisely the day it was going to be premiered, a few hours before that premiere. In New York I walk fast, so it was only a few moments before it was all behind me, but in those moments I saw them unloading trucks with all the necessary implements of this event. Posters, folding tables, flowers, and, yes, there was one trunk from which crates of lobster were being unloaded. Lobster that was going to be made into hors d’oeuvres for the attendees.

I then realized my misreading of the situation. While I thought I was a tough-as-nails arbiter of taste by turning down this seemingly drab film, I was in fact nothing but a rube. Instead of proving my New York cool by not attending a bad movie, I should have proven it by attending it for the food that would be there. Because when a movie has the name of an exotic food in its title, the opening night reception is guaranteed to feature real examples of that exotic food. The literal-mindedness of publicity staff assures this. And so, this bad movie was going to have good food associated with it, for free, but only on one occasion in history, and I blew it.

However, I am keeping my eye out for Gowanus Caviar with Dianne Wiest and Dana Carvey. It is going to be a real tear-jerker.

by Jack, Saturday, January 28, 2006 | Link | Comments (1)

January 27, 2006

Increasingly small victories

You know how this works. Wherein changing a light bulb becomes a home improvement project worthy of self-satisfaction. Wherein calling someone back within two weeks shows that you are both responsible and concerned. Wherein, you know, posting to your blog a couple times a year will keep the masses peaceful.

I would like to say more, but I know I can only do so much.

by Jack, Friday, January 27, 2006 | Link | Comments (1)

July 29, 2005

First Martin Luther, now this guy

I don’t usually get in the middle of grudge matches between the Pope and Harry Potter, but I want to mention something briefly, because it disturbed me and has gone largely misunderstood.

I was in a deli a couple weeks ago where they were playing a television. On the television was one of the ubiquitous opinion-based current events programs. It was the day that the new Harry Potter book came out (about which I myself have no particular opinion). They had a woman on the show who was the representative of a large Catholic organization in America. She was there to explain the current Pope’s strong views that Harry Potter is wrong. This is how she explained them:

She said that Harry Potter books advanced the view that “sorcery was a way to solve your problems”. In sharp contrast to this, the Bible clearly states that “sorcery is wrong”.

Now, this disagreement might be reasonable except for an important detail: sorcery does not exist; it is fiction. If everyone who read Harry Potter attempted to use sorcery to solve their problems, they would fail. So where’s the threat?

Apparently, the Pope feels he needs to be against Harry Potter’s pro-sorcery stance, which is irrelevant since no sorcery exists, because the Bible’s anti-sorcery stance is equally irrelevant in our sorcery-free world.

In other words, Harry Potter is a threat to the Bible because they are both based on made-up shit.

(Disclaimer: This is not my opinion; I am merely explaining the position of the Pope of Rome.)

by Jack, Friday, July 29, 2005 | Link | Comments (6)

January 20, 2005

White people are at it again

Today, as has been noted elsewhere, George Bush spent tens of millions of dollars celebrating himself. By contrast, I went to do my laundry. I always do my laundry myself, even though everyone I know sends out their laundry to be done by others. That seems absurd to me, when it is so easy to do your own laundry. In fact, there are machines that are designed to do laundry for you (as I have recently explained) and I use them without hesitation. In fact, these are the same machines used by the people who you hire to do your laundry. While the machines work, I read a book, which is a nice thing to do. What’s the big deal? The whole thing cost me just $5.75 on a cold afternoon.

Continue reading "White people are at it again"
by Jack, Thursday, January 20, 2005 | Link | Comments (0)

January 16, 2005

Civilization and its diss

Welcome to Trouble Sells, 2005 edition. I recognize that mid-January is not a very ambitious point from which to start the new year. However, when we last left our story, my bar was closing on New Year’s Eve. I really can’t face that all over again. The wounds are too recent. I will get back to it in due time. I will chronicle the heartbreak, the angry girls I used to sleep with, the complacent girls I used to sleep with, the fear of running out of liquor, and the deep bathos of our situation. That it happened on the turn of the year is all the more chilling. Imagine if it was this way for all Americans. “Well, the ball has dropped, honey. Help the kids pack up their things before the wrecking crew destroys our home.”

I know that in Trouble Sells, 2004 edition, I rarely talked about my actual life, concentrating mostly on high-minded analyses of our doomed race. Now that George Plimpton, always our champion, is dead, I resolve to get back to more drunk girls etc. But before I can do that, an important foundational step is to explain the origin of civilization itself. I am also going to straight-up diss it.

Continue reading "Civilization and its diss"
by Jack, Sunday, January 16, 2005 | Link | Comments (3)

November 30, 2004

Last thoughts on John Kerry

I do mean last thoughts, because just as no one had heard of this guy before he ran for president, no one has heard from him since he lost. I know I’ve always been rough on John Kerry (or, as I call him for short, Jerry) and I want to give a few moments of my own opposing viewpoint before I return to being rough on him, and then, finally, forget about him altogether.

Continue reading "Last thoughts on John Kerry"
by Jack, Tuesday, November 30, 2004 | Link | Comments (1)

November 13, 2004

Why can't I be wrong when it counts?

When it comes to choosing which women are worth pursuing, I am almost always wrong. Why can’t I be wrong about politics sometimes? Or at least about Election 2004?

As long-time readers of Trouble Sells will no doubt hazily recall, my previous eight brief posts on political subjects, written over the course of a year, may well be the most insightful ever written on a blog. Mostly that’s because I’m the only Democrat I can think of that always knew we would lose if we picked Kerry and didn’t change his mind once we did. How could we possibly have won with this guy? I think we figured it was because Bush is so awful. But, you know, a lot of people voted for him before, and we needed some of them to vote for us this time.

Continue reading "Why can't I be wrong when it counts?"
by Jack, Saturday, November 13, 2004 | Link | Comments (4)

October 29, 2004

Diabetic Halloween presages Christmas in prison

There is a rumor going around that I will be attending Christmas in Racine this year. My sister Karin called me up the other day.

“I talked to Mom,” she said. “She wants you to start thinking about coming for Christmas.”

“It’s October,” I said. “If I start thinking now, I’ll definitely decide not to come by Christmas.”

Continue reading "Diabetic Halloween presages Christmas in prison"
by Jack, Friday, October 29, 2004 | Link | Comments (0)

October 9, 2004

The conventional wisdom

Conventionally, there isn’t any wisdom, but this has not prevented use of the phrase “conventional wisdom” throughout our squalid history. It’s a troubling phrase, because it seems to suggest, “Here’s what unimaginative, borderline-sentient people would think, and I agree with them”. Such self-styled wisdom has little to recommend it. Of course, anytime someone is trying to sell you their own thoughts as “wisdom”, be as careful as if they were trying to get you to eat in a restaurant with “gourmet” in its name.

Continue reading "The conventional wisdom"
by Jack, Saturday, October 9, 2004 | Link | Comments (0)

September 16, 2004

But don't touch

I wanted to relaunch Look magazine. Originally the name had signified the heavy dominance of photography within its covers — stuff to “look” at. In the ’90s some forgotten genius had discussed bringing it back as a “home & lifestyle” magazine, telling you how to shape up your house, wardrobe, and pantry. In other words, how to update the “look” of your stuff.

I felt it was time to consider a third meaning of the title. I wanted Look magazine to be the first word in a tirade, as in, “Look, pal, I’ve had it up to here with you.”

Continue reading "But don't touch"
by Jack, Thursday, September 16, 2004 | Link | Comments (2)

September 3, 2004

One of our horndogs is missing

Former president and future first gentleman Bill Clinton, or the Big Dawg as he is popularly known, had a heart attack today, which still leaves him three up on Dick Cheney, who has heart attacks like some people have cheeseburgers. The bad news for the Boys in the Blue States is that Clinton is now presumably sidelined for the rest of the campaign.

Say what you will about the vaunted electability of John Forbes Kerry, but all the charisma in his family seems to have gone to…hmmm. I guess I’ll have to get back to you on that one, unless the selection of Senator Johnny Edwards as vice-candidate involved legal adoption. Senator Kerry is about as exciting as the ketchup which bears his name. William Clinton, on the other hand, keeps you on the edge of your seat: what crazy scrapes is that character going to get into next? This time, the answer turned out to be severe heart disease, which is not among his most crowd-pleasing work. At least he did not round out his heart attack by pulling a Nelson Rockefeller, although my friends in Vegas remind me it’s still early in the game. One encouraging thought, Mr. Clinton, for your stay in the hospital: naughty nurses.

Continue reading "One of our horndogs is missing"
by Jack, Friday, September 3, 2004 | Link | Comments (3)

September 2, 2004

Kisses for my president

While we wait to see if Howard Dean can win Wisconsin, the Republicans made their bid for the future this week in New York. As a member of the loyal opposition, I held my own convention in my apartment with a Texas-sized bottle of vodka and a rental of Passionate Conservatives Volume 6: Meatpacking Misfits. I was sort of bummed about the convention, because they asked Zell Miller to speak and not me, and we are both Democrats, plus I don’t have some hick accent. Anyway, his speech was pretty good, and I basically agreed with it if you took out all the stuff about the Democrats. Really, I think the DNC is playing a dangerous game allowing him to pretend to cozy up to the enemy while really acting as a Trojan Horse to destroy them from within. It may well end up backfiring.

Continue reading "Kisses for my president"
by Jack, Thursday, September 2, 2004 | Link | Comments (3)

August 31, 2004

What I did on my summer vacation

While you were in some Hampton, listening to Peter Frampton, I was in NYC, listening to BDP. It’s part of my annual tradition to spend as little time as possible outside of Manhattan during the summer season. I feel much like Charlton Heston wandering through the post-apocalyptic world of both The Omega Man and his dementia-addled brain, lost in an abandoned urban dystopia peopled by bizarrely-costumed mutants. Actually, since I live in the Lower East Side, it’s pretty much like this year-round, but how would you know? You left town. I’m here to tell you what you missed.

Let me break it down for you.

Continue reading "What I did on my summer vacation"
by Jack, Tuesday, August 31, 2004 | Link | Comments (0)

July 28, 2004

America Has Convention Fever

If you’re like me, you’re a little underwhelmed by results of the decision to allow political bloggers at the Democratic convention, because those results are almost nothing. There is little coming from these blogs, and what there is doesn’t seem to be aided by the bloggers’ emergence from their living rooms. One can only presume that they are too busy schmoozing at the traditional power centers, and that must be fun. There is also a lot of catering, and excellent R&B dance grooves between the speeches, although of course those of us at home are dancing up a storm too.

But the fact remains that even if the blogs can contribute little to the good feelings streaming out of Boston, the American people have picked up the charge of rhetoric. America, as it does every four years or so, has Convention Fever, and it’s apparent everywhere you look.

Continue reading "America Has Convention Fever"
by Jack, Wednesday, July 28, 2004 | Link | Comments (1)

July 7, 2004

Independent of y'all

This year on Independence Day, I chose to celebrate in a manner Americans have honored for generations: by not posting to my blog. But now I realize the short-sightedness of my action, as I usually do eventually in all cases of action or inaction taken by me. So let’s seize this opportunity, on a week often considered related to the birth of our nation, to check in on the American political scene.

One thing that pops up immediately is that we seem to have political parties, in clear violation of the advice of one of our first presidents, George Washington, but that we cling fast to the musket-era idea that everyone can have guns.

My colleague in bling, one Puffy Diddy, brought gravitas to our weekend through his well-publicized and -politicized party in those Hamptons. All invited guests were required to wear nothing but white, white, white; reportedly one confused industry insider was made to bury his off-color sneakers in the woods before being allowed past the gates. Of course, the white theme was in honor of our Founding Fathers, who were exclusively white. Apparently an additional Puff notion of having the guests wear only men’s clothes, in remembrance of the masculine gender of all the Founders, was rejected as not sufficiently bling-friendly.

Continue reading "Independent of y'all"
by Jack, Wednesday, July 7, 2004 | Link | Comments (3)

June 6, 2004

Bill Clinton's not the only one with "My Life"

The fact of the matter is, my life has been pretty interesting lately. But why should I tell you about it?

I’ve lost the thread. Somebody remind me what this was about.

Continue reading "Bill Clinton's not the only one with "My Life""
by Jack, Sunday, June 6, 2004 | Link | Comments (1)

May 9, 2004

You ain't even

I’ve always been a firm believer that Harold Bloom should only criticize Shakespeare when he can do better. However, anyone who has read Edward III knows he probably could. The way I see it, there’re those who sweat out art from a painful pore (and let’s remember what Duchamp canonized: that bad art is still art), and there’s the wannabes whose best moment is when they get up the guts to say “your mama”. I mean, yes, of course, “your mama” is a damning and revealing criticism, but — oh wait, no, it isn’t.

Or, to quote the poet, “you talk all that Glock shit, but you don’t rock shit”.

Continue reading "You ain't even"
by Jack, Sunday, May 9, 2004 | Link | Comments (0)

February 29, 2004

How Dean Can Win Wisconsin

To wrap up Jack History Month, I’d like to offer a few pointers to presidential hopeful Howard Dean, who will need to win my home state of Wisconsin on February 17 in order to stay competitive in the primary race.

Unfortunately, I’ve been pretty busy lately talking about all the girls I felt up in high school, and I’m just getting around to addressing this important issue. Since in the meantime Dean failed to win Wisconsin, and in fact dropped out of the race the next day, we can tell my advice would have been helpful to him. In this light, however, I will present a revised notion of what Dean needs to do to win Wisconsin twelve days ago.

Continue reading "How Dean Can Win Wisconsin"
by Jack, Sunday, February 29, 2004 | Link | Comments (3)

January 29, 2004

I'm a ward boss

Now that Trouble Sells has become one of the top-rated sites for information about Paul Tsongas — and even made a grown man weep by imparting that information — I feel it is time to return to my beloved role as trusted family advisor on that important contest, the 2004 presidential election.

The 2004 is a strange election. I don’t pretend to understand the Twenty-First Century any more than I understood the Twentieth or any of the others. In fact, I pretend to understand the Twentieth the best. But I would like to point out that in 2000, the last contest of that century, many Americans were unable to distinguish effectively between the futures offered by Gore and Bush — a view exploited and encouraged by Ralph Nader, who until that point in his career had been against the glib ignorance of facts in matters of corporate corruption and political process. And when a few polls showed a Bradley/Bush matchup would result in a Democratic win but a Gore/Bush competition was too close to call, Democratic voters were unconcerned and stayed the course.

Continue reading "I'm a ward boss"
by Jack, Thursday, January 29, 2004 | Link | Comments (0)

January 19, 2004

MADD crazy yo

Speaking of terrible things, am I the only person who has thought this was an ill-named program for all of its years? I’m referring to “Tie One On For Safety”. I mean, if I said something like that, it’d be a bad joke, but this is a nationally-recognized program. But people, people, people. Don’t call your drunk-driving awareness project that involves attaching ribbons to your antennae “tying one on.” That’s like “The Slut Was Just Asking for Rape Prevention.”

Do they think this is cute?

by Jack, Monday, January 19, 2004 | Link | Comments (0)

December 23, 2003

More of an outlaw than you ever were

Well, I got myself worked up in that last post. Maybe I was wrong about those guys. Let’s play Gawker here for a minute. George Pataki, governor of New York, former mayor of Peekskill, and a terrible person, has pardoned Lenny Bruce for his obscenity convictions. (Mr. Bruce’s other problem, that he is dead, remains unresolved.)

Continue reading "More of an outlaw than you ever were"
by Jack, Tuesday, December 23, 2003 | Link | Comments (0)

December 6, 2003

I have Larry King's shit down

But you don’t come here for regurgitated platitudes like “Larry King is an idiot.” To the contrary, if you look up Trouble Sells in the dictionary, you see a picture of iconoclasm. If we’ve got one thing, it’s class, class, class, and style.

I’m a little concerned that no one is trying to figure out who I am really, if anyone, so I’m just going to give up. I’m really Joe Klein, just like last time. Mickey Martinez of Costa Mesa, you win the office pool. Everybody else, I fooled you again!

Continue reading "I have Larry King's shit down"
by Jack, Saturday, December 6, 2003 | Link | Comments (1)

December 5, 2003

These Explosions

                      V.O. In a world of lies, one man knows the truth. And he has forty-eight hours to save the only woman which he’ll ever love. Before…the Explosions.

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by Jack, Friday, December 5, 2003 | Link | Comments (2)

November 30, 2003

Hoarding your seconds

In the past year, the Union Square area has become thick with friendly, outgoing, and entirely reasonable-seeming dressed-up hippies asking passersby, “Do you have a second for Greenpeace?”

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by Jack, Sunday, November 30, 2003 | Link | Comments (0)

November 22, 2003

Celebrity umbrellas

If you see a young couple walking on a rainy afternoon, there is always the distinct possibility that they are married to other people, not present. However, there is an even greater chance that the umbrella they share belongs to another.

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by Jack, Saturday, November 22, 2003 | Link | Comments (2)

November 19, 2003

It's all one song

Keith Richards has said that, to him, music is all one song. That might be the reason for the Forty Licks packaging running all forty song titles together to look like one title. I was wondering what that song might be about.

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by Jack, Wednesday, November 19, 2003 | Link | Comments (1)

November 12, 2003

I'm the prize

Let’s work under the assumption that women feel more comfortable, more right, more in control, when they are the prize for some man. They want to be individuals, as we all do, but they want to be special, as we all do.

They want some man, or all of them, to seek them out like a prize.

I decided to tell these women, “I am the prize now.”

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by Jack, Wednesday, November 12, 2003 | Link | Comments (2)

November 11, 2003

The bitches: are they getting it right?

Like the Warren Report before it, Trouble Sells is a carefully-considered analysis of grave events, but that doesn’t mean it makes any sense. Garbage in, garbage out, folks. My data are poorly-collected and always have been. Short of an Open Society grant to investigate why people are such idiots, I’m the only one on staff, as chief scientist, accountant, writer, and bottle-washer here at TSHQ. My idea of data-mining is going to the bar, my exclusive social laboratory. Thank god I just did that, so I have some fresh insights for you.

I’ve been considering the oft-repeated meme that “women mature sooner than men.” When I was seven years old, people used this to describe seven-year-old men and women. I didn’t have much of an insight into it. Now I am a decrepit, used-up, you-really-don’t-want-to-talk-to-me twenty-seven, and it seems that women are still more advanced, according to these women. I had originally thought “women mature sooner” meant that they were able to survive puberty with perhaps less scarring, and in less time. Apparently, though, this same truism can be reapplied at any phase of human life. Are they going to hold this over my head forever? How many times do they want to win the same contest?

But then it hit me.

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by Jack, Tuesday, November 11, 2003 | Link | Comments (8)

November 2, 2003

Paul Tsongas

Let’s take a break for a moment from all the bad sex I’ve been having with people who don’t like me, and consider the 1992 presidential campaign. My support in the earliest days of that contest was for Paul Tsongas, former Democratic senator from Massachusetts. I’m bringing this up now because I witnessed things at a Tsongas rally that have never been reported, as far as I know, by anyone, and at the time I didn’t have a blog. Here is the unbelievable story.

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by Jack, Sunday, November 2, 2003 | Link | Comments (8)

October 17, 2003

Chicken rolls: a love story

Let me give you some advice. If, at some time, you are given the task of painting a sign which is designed to make me a happier man, let me tell you what to write on the sign. The sign should read as follows: CHICKEN ROLL BULK DISCOUNT.

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by Jack, Friday, October 17, 2003 | Link | Comments (4)

October 12, 2003

Other people

But there’s another whole parallel universe out there. If you need some proof, let me tell you about the waiting room of the PR firm I was in today. On their coffee table, to the exclusion of any other magazines, were copies of WALKING, SWIMMING, RUNNING, SKIING, and WEDDING. Yes, all the major Gerund Monthlies; it was a very “can do” kind of office.

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by Jack, Sunday, October 12, 2003 | Link | Comments (0)

October 11, 2003

Wonderful town

I have arrived once again in New York town. No matter where you may travel, where you may roam, when it’s time to return, you end up in Queens. Or Newark. Well, as committed readers already know, for me this time it was good old Queens swampland. I bent down to kiss it, like the Pope, but unlike the Pope, I was able to get up again. However, much like the Pope, there was no chance of my getting the Nobel Prize this month. However, unlike the Pope, I wasn’t whining about it.

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by Jack, Saturday, October 11, 2003 | Link | Comments (0)

September 29, 2003

Musical pioneer

When I’m in my apartment, I listen to a lot of recorded music. I also try to hear live music as much as I can, but too many of the things I like are made only by dead people. Keep that in mind if I ever praise your work.

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by Jack, Monday, September 29, 2003 | Link | Comments (1)

September 27, 2003


Since I need to leave for the airport around rush hour, the best way is through the city streets the whole way, rather than any highway.

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by Jack, Saturday, September 27, 2003 | Link | Comments (0)

September 21, 2003

Nothing left to lose

Every so often, I head to Japan for work, much like the white people in the new Sofia Coppola movie Lost in Translation. (In fact, I’m leaving for two weeks there on Friday, will you miss me?) But when I saw that movie in a special pre-release screening for sycophants, I felt personally embarrassed. I wanted to turn to everyone in the theater and say, “Movies aren’t always this bad. Please do not stop seeing them forever.”

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by Jack, Sunday, September 21, 2003 | Link | Comments (1)